Ministry of Transport Road Maps

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The Ministry of Transport Road Map series (generally known as "MOT Maps" to Sabristo) was published by the Ordnance Survey on behalf of the MOT in order to document the initial allocation of road numbers and subsequent changes.

Along with List of class I and class II roads and numbers, it is the definitive source of any classified road between 1923 and 1932, including hundreds of roads that no longer existed by 1932, let alone the more widely available New Popular Edition maps of the 1940s and beyond.

Loads of them are now available on SABRE Maps, including a full set of the 1922-23 editions.

Text on Inner Flap

This series of Maps is issued with the object of publishing for general information the results of the Classification of Roads in Great Britain carried out by the Minister of Transport under Section 17(2) of the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919, and of indicating the details of the Route Numbering Scheme adopted by the Ministry. It is hoped that the information given upon these maps will prove of service to road users generally.

Classification of Roads The roads of Great Britain have been divided into three groups :

  • Class I
  • Class I
  • All Other Roads

Route Numbers In connection with the classification of roads, a scheme of numbering has been adopted, by which each road in Classes I, and II, is distinguished by an individual number. These identification numbers are already being shown on direction posts in various part of the country.

Brief Explanation of Maps and Numbering Scheme On the maps CLASS I, roads and their numbers are distinguished by being coloured red. On sign-posts, however, Class I roads will be indicated by the letter "A" used as a prefix to the road numbers, eg: A.28, A.6070.

Similarly, roads in CLASS II, and their numbers are indicated upon the maps in green, but will be shown upon sign-posts with the prefix B eg: B.375, B.851

OTHER roads have not been numbered.

Great Britain has been divided into nine sectors or zones bounded by nine trunk roads, six of which radiate in clockwise order from London, and the remaining three similarly from Edinburgh. The roads in question are:

  • A.1 : London - Edinburgh
  • A.2 : London - Dover
  • A.3 : London - Portsmouth
  • A.4 : London - Bath
  • A.5 : London - Holyhead
  • A.6 : London - Carlisle
  • A.7 : Edinburgh - Carlisle
  • A.8 : Edinburgh - Glasgow - Gourock
  • A.9 : Edinburgh - Perth - Inverness

Each Zone bears the number of the road bounding it upon the left (facing outwards from the centre) eg: Zone 3 is the area between Road A.3 and Road A.4; Zone 6 is the area bounded by Roads A.6, A.1 and A.7; and Zone 7 is bounded by Roads A.7 and A.8

Again working clockwise, each road commencing in any particular zone is given a number beginning with that zone numeral, and retains this number throughout its entire length irrespective of the zone in which it terminates. Thus, a traveller finding himself upon Road A.46 in Zone 1 near Grimsby is at once aware that the road originates in the South-West in Zone 4.

Examples A.272 commences in Zone 2 at Blackboys, and although crossing into, and terminating in Zone 3 at Winchester, retains its original number throughout.

Other examples are :-

  • A.38 : Plymouth - Derby
  • A.47 : Birmingham - Yarmouth
  • A.57 : Liverpool - Sheffield - Lincoln
  • A.63 : Leeds - Hull
  • A.73 : Lanark - Airdrie - Cumbernauld
  • A.85 : Oban - Glenorchy - Crieff - Perth - Dundee

The same procedure is followed with regard to Class II roads with the exception that the numbers from B.1 to B.99 inclusive have not been used.

List giving the numbers of all Class I and Class II roads, arranged in serial order, are also published, and may be purchased directly from H.M. Stationery Office and from all Agents for the sale of Ordnance Survey Maps.

Archives with Copies

  • The National Archives have Sheet 33 (Salisbury and Winchester), 1922/23 revision - by accident. (See MT 39/246).
  • The London Metropolitan Archives have Sheet 34 (London), 1922/23 revision (Link)
  • The British Library have all sheets, 1922/23 revision as library deposit copies. (England), (Scotland). Unfortunately, they have all been dissected for folding which makes getting good quality A0 scans impossible.
  • The National Library of Scotland have flat copies of all sheets, 1922/23 revision, and England & Wales Sheet 1 and 2, 1928/29 revision. These can be scanned for £10 + VAT each for private research purposes.
  • Archifdy Ceredigon (Cardigan Archives) have several sheets, 1922/23 revision, mostly of North England (Link)

People with Copies

Ritchie Swann has the following :

Sheet Name Date Notes
1 Jedburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh 1922-23 Paper
2 Carlisle 1922/23 A4 library dissected
5 Lake District 1922/23 A4 library dissected
6 Richmond, Middlesbrough and Ripon 1922/23 A4 library dissected
8 Lancaster, Southport and Preston 1922/23 A4 library dissected
11 Carnarvon (sic), Bangor and Conwy 1922/23 cloth dissected
15 Aberystwyth and Barmouth 1922/23 A4 library dissected
18 Peterborough and Boston 1922/23 A4 library dissected
21 Brecon, Aberystwyth and Lampeter 1922/23 A4 library dissected
24 Oxford and Swindon 1922/23 paper
25 Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich 1927/28 cloth, currently with Steven Jukes
27 Gloucester, Monmouth and Newport 1922/23 A4 library dissected
28 Oxford and Swindon 1922/23 paper
29 North London, St Albans and Hertford 1922/23 A4 library dissected
29 North London, St Albans and Hertford 1926/27 paper
30 Colchester 1922/23 cloth
30 Colchester 1927/28 (with hand bodges) cloth
31 Bideford and Taunton 1922/23 paper
32 Bristol and Cardiff 1922/23 cloth
32 Bristol and Cardiff 1926/27 cloth
33 Salisbury, Winchester and Reading 1926/27 cloth dissected
34 London 1922/23 A4 library dissected
35 Southwest Cornwall and Scilly Isles 1922/23 cloth
37 Weymouth, Yeovil and Taunton 1922/23 paper
38 Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight 1922/23 cloth
39 Brighton 1922/23 cloth
39 Brighton 1927/28 cloth
40 Chatham, Margate and Hastings 1922/23 paper

Steven Jukes has:

Sheet Name Date Notes
7 Whitby & Scarborough 1922-23 Paper
7 Whitby & Scarborough 1927-28 Dissected cloth, currently with Ritchie Swann
12 Manchester & Liverpool 1922-23 Paper, currently with Ritchie Swann
14 Lincoln & Grimsby 1927-28 Dissected cloth
16 Wrexham, Shrewsbury & Hanley 1922-23 Cloth
16 Wrexham, Shrewsbury & Hanley 1926-27 Library edition
17 Derby, Nottingham & Leicester 1922-23 Paper
17 Derby, Nottingham & Leicester 1924-25 Library edition
22 Worcester & Ludlow 1924-25 Library edition
23 Birmingham, Leamington & Northampton 1922-23 Paper, folded awkwardly, no cover
23 Birmingham, Leamington & Northampton 1926-27 Library edition
24 Bedford & Cambridge 1922-23 Dissected, no cover
30 Colchester 1922-23 Dissected, poor condition
30 Colchester 1927-28 Dissected cloth
31 Bideford, Ilfracombe & Tiverton 1927-28 Dissected cloth
36 Plymouth, Torquay & Exeter 1922-23 Cloth
36 Plymouth, Torquay & Exeter 1927-28 Dissected cloth
37 Weymouth, Yeovil & Taunton 1927-28 Dissected cloth
38 Southampton, Portsmouth & IOW 1922-23 Cloth, no cover
40 Chatham, Margate & Hastings 1925-26 Cloth, poor cover